back to article IT industry needs more women

The European Commission (EC) is calling for more women to consider careers in the IT industry because the growth in the number of female graduates in relevant subjects continues to fall. But the US is seeing the first signs of a turnaround in declining numbers of people studying for careers in IT. At a conference in Brussels …


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  1. Rob
    Paris Hilton

    yes to women

    I agree, there are far too few women working in IT, i've not had a girlfriend for over 5 years now and i'm only 30, so I'm thinking the odds would be better if there were any women at all around really.

    Paris, 'cause I'd be at work on time every day if she were in my cubicle & it would be funny watching her try to troubleshoot a linux box or a network -oh and maybe the air con would have broken, and it would be getting really really hot in there..

    i'll just go lie down for few minutes now.

  2. Dave

    No no no no no STOP!!

    The IT Industry does not need more women. The IT Industry requires more qualified people working in it.

    Besides, has anyone considered that "the number of female graduates in relevant subjects continues to fall" bacause women aren't interested in those subjects? I've tried to convince women that computers are great, but the gods honest truth is, THEY PREFER SHOPPING AND CLOTHES. leave them alone. And leave us alone. People who are interested and talented in a subject will work in it and flourish. Those who are not will move along fine somewhere else

  3. Ash
    Thumb Down

    What's wrong with the stereotype?

    Is there something wrong with IT techs being male? Is there something unfair about having only male staff? Is it somehow WRONG for a department to have all male staff?

    Leave the workforce alone. People good at the job will get the job. People bad at the job will be replaced by those good at it. We don't need guidelines to tell us we have too little women, elderly, disabled, or black people working in a specific place; it's just how it pans out sometimes. Screwing with recruitment quotas by saying "10% must be xxxxx" only means that 10% of the workforce would probably not be the best applicant for the job.

  4. Alastair

    Re: Yes to women

    And to think people wonder why women aren't taking up careers in IT?

  5. Leona

    Why would they want to?

    Think women (unlike myself) are more intelligent than that, why would they want to join an industry that is recognised to be one of the most stressful, most depressing and the least rewarded industries, don't make the same mistake as me, steer well clear of IT!

  6. Paul Naylor

    IT Crowd

    Would that be a ... lady? Of the female genre?

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Thats not fair

    I HAD BEEN working in IT for the last 15 years.....

    my former employer shut down their IT division

    I am MCSE & Telecoms Qualified with years of experiance

    Can I find a bloody job now? NO.

    Where are all these IT positions the girls are gonna fill?

    Right it must be time to have a sex change and go for the interviews again!

    Just where is the UK going, I see better jobs advertised abroad than in this shit hole of a country.

    And I was born here, I'm gonna save up my benefits and move abroad.


  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BAs and PMs

    If it ends up being like the US then you'll get more women, they'll just all be project managers and business analysts, but not programmers, DBAs, or network admins. The women getting into IT in the US are, for the more part, getting into the least IT parts of IT.

  9. J Gray


    Most high quality organizations I've been associated with have less than 5% male jerks. Seems like only the incompetent (technically or socially) are unhappy about having a more "gender balanced" workplace.

    That being said, the bigger problem is getting more competent people in general. I can't stand anyone who got their job without merit (because they are a particular race, gender or relation of the manager). With men's dropping achievement rate (ie. low and dropping college graduation rates), tech needs to look back to its roots to find good programmers.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are lots of excellent BAs and PMs

    I've met a few good devs. Most used to be men.

  11. Mr V
    Thumb Up

    @Leona & @Ash

    Spot on the pair of you.

    My fiancee is near enough an IT widow as it is. She wouldn't come close to considering a career in IT and I certainly won't be convincing any children of mine to take up a career in IT, its full of overpaid management clowns, overpaid senior technician clowns, and lazy overpaid colleagues for the most part.

    The day when an IT department can just get on with it and be staffed by competent people just can't come soon enough IMHO. Oh, and at least 60 days holiday would be nice to cover all those weekends I end up working...

  12. pg

    I don't blame them

    I'm a woman in the IT industry and I don't blame college-aged women for not wanting anything to do with it. Look at the comments here, why would women want to work with a bunch of porn-addled, misogynistic bastards? I have no problems where I work but if I was a young woman thinking about careers and I got my impressions of IT from places like this, slashdot, digg, fark, etc., I wouldn't be interested at all.

  13. Matt

    a a a a a a a a a title is required :(

    I've spent most of my time for the last 3 years trying to figure out how to get out of IT but keep my salary.

    I have now decided to stay in IT but change my country.

    Let the three year plan commence.

    Quotas are bullshit - anyone with a brain knows it.

  14. Avi

    IT needs women coerced into it

    about as much as midwifery needs men coerced into it.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Look Around

    How many women would want to work where you are? Hell. just reading any of the comments sections at the REG would be enough to put most intelligent people off working in IT.

    And I haven't even touched on the paranoia and frequent fruit-cakiness.

    Mine's the one being held by the gorgeous blonde with multiple Phd's... obviously I'm NOT in IT.

    Just kidding... she only has one Phd.

  16. adnim


    women in IT?

    I thought I was going wrong somewhere, I have been trying to get IT in a woman.

    oooeeer, is that sexist? Should I be trying to get IT into a man as well?

  17. Futaihikage

    Well now....

    I know I would LOVE to have more women in the IT industry. The fact that most events turn into a sausage fest annoys me to no end. Women in the industry would be a benefit. Cause I'm tired of seeing the same "geek" inspired designs... if any technological market that deals with consumers want to do well, all they need to do is include women in the demographic. What better way to find out how they think and work then to have more women in the industry to translate the feelings into tech ideas.

  18. Tanuki
    Thumb Down


    I always thought it was _Mars Needs Women_ or have I lost the {B-movie} plot?

    Seriously, I loathe the whole 'diversity' and 'quotas' stuff; I'll always recruit purely on the basis of *who is best for the job*. Anything else is utter, utter craziness.

  19. Darryl

    In the US they call it "Affirmative Action"

    ...and it usually ends up being, "We don't have enough of <insert minority here> so from now on we won't consider applications from people who aren't <insert minority here>, and if we don't get enough qualified <insert minority here> applicants, we'll lower the requirements until we do."

    I especially enjoyed it when they dropped the physical requirements for firefighters.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I don't even know what comment section you've been reading.

    You ever been around a group of marketing or sales people before? Make a group IT guys look like a bunch of shy woman worshipping teddy bears.

    Because - well, most of us IT guys (in the techie hardware/systems/network side anyway) are just that.

  21. John A Blackley

    @Mr V

    "The day when an IT department can just get on with it" indicates you're part of the problem. As for those 'clowns' - laugh all you want. They're still getting paid more than you.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The one reason

    The one reason women can't get into the IT biz is it would be embarrassing if they beat us guys at first person shooters.

    Apart from that, yeah there should be more in the profession.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    "I don't blame them"

    The chattering class of the IT population can be its own worst enemy. Their yapping gives a terrible impression of the entire industry.

  24. Fuzzy
    IT Angle


    Why is it this keeps coming up. Any industry IT or otherwise does not need more women in it, it needs more qualified people, Period. A company I worked for tried to impose a greater ratio of women within the IT department. The HR department went so far a making this one one of his targets to get a bonus. In the need employing female who were less wuyalified than others interviewing for the same job. It does not work.

    there have been arguments that women are intimidated to enter the male dominated industry and hence the drive to try to change this. Bullshit. I think the western world is enlightened enough to realise that gender, sexual orientation or disability are irrelvant to being qualfied to do the job and do it well. In the end that is all that matters.

  25. OzBob


    Cos then I would have to cover for her while she picks up the kids from school, add an extra UPS for the fan heater under her desk cos she feels the cold but can't wear sensible clothing, carry her workload when she spends worktime organising "family stuff" and covering kids sick days (while her shiftless husband does nothing), give up any hope of her answering her phone on the weekend for callout, and have the decisions of the bosses swayed by who wears the smallest amount of clothing (ie. her).

    Seriously, all female tactics I have witnessed in 19 years of working in IT. Prostitutes, tea ladies and HR, thats all the IT-related trades women should be in.

    And I;m not posting anonymously! bring it on!

  26. cloudberry

    What quotas?

    Where in the article did the previous commenters notice anything about quotas? Encouraging women to consider the IT industry is quite different from setting a quota of women for the industry, which would be impossible, anyway.

  27. Michael Greenhill

    Re: I don't blame them

    The thing is though, it's easy to spot those type of dungeon-dwelling IT goblins a mile off. The wide eyes and foaming mouth are a pretty big giveaway, as is the 24 hour game of pocket billiards they play.

    I don't really care who I work with - male or female, black or white - as long as I enjoy working with them and more importantly, they're good at what they do.

  28. Chris Branch


    I'm sure if you visited websites based around non-IT subjects and careers, you wouldn't be interested in those, either. The internet is full of loud, obnoxious voices - step outside if you want a sensible opinion!

  29. Anonymous Coward

    as said b4

    what jobs? im on the edge of giving up - an IT pro earning less than £10k / year. thats not a typo. why is there a problem? simple, companies have a tiny bit of xp know how and now they go and run their IT dept. any big companies out source abroad, so what ever is left is shared by competing consultants.

    ...and what ever is left is taxed to death or has WEEE regs all over it which cost £1000 a year to be legit.

    It just isn't worth it any more. I can earn £2600 more for the local council cleaning toilets. Ironic. (BTW, I live in the SW where a manager earns only £14k)

  30. Brett Weaver

    IT needs women?

    Alright, IT does.

    Women who can program.

    Women who can negotiate hard and insist on decent rates.

    Women who take responsibility to get the job done.

    I have employed developers for 20 years. Never have I even thought I would turn away someone with the skills I needed because they were female, male, of a different ethnicity or had a disability which did not restrict their ability to deliver work.

    I would be surprised if a significant number of people employing skilled IT staff did not have the same attitudes that I do.

    I think you need to look for other reasons why women are underrepresented.

  31. Simon
    Thumb Down

    Political Correctness gone mad (as ever)

    I can't understand what is wrong with allowing women to choose the careers they want, instead of being bullied into taking up careers, those in the "know", feel they should be taking up.

    Perhaps this is just an indirect way the remaining misogynist population can circumvent the fact that us guys are no better than the fairer folk of our society, with the aim of demonstrating women, those that have been forced into careers they’re not interested in, are not up to par.

    Anyone who has been placed in a role they’re not happy with, male or female, will fail to achieve; it’s the nature of doing a job you don’t want to do.

  32. adnim

    Just to add

    My missus works in IT, has done for 20 years. She does well, is highly regraded and well paid, but finds her tasks of little challenge. I must admit I would find the technical side of her job of little challenge too after 3 months of learning the systems she develops and supports. The hardest part is dealing with others. Users are a fuggin pain for whom I have very little patience, an area in which she excels. And by the way, despite my earlier comment she would not put up with me for one minute if I was truly sexist.

    IT jobs to those able and willing, regardless of sex, creed, colour, disability, height, breast size, length, girth etc. etc.

  33. Maksim Rukov

    for love || money

    In the article:

    "Applications for computer science courses fell sharply after the bursting of the dot-com bubble in 2000."

    It makes me sad to think people are doing computer science just because it might make them rich. Not because they find the field interesting in and of itself. In my experience, though, most of the "get-rich-quick" types choked on the more tech-heavy units and buggered off to the business school.

    Maybe I've just got sour grapes because I started my computer science degree in 2000...

  34. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Some of the smartest people I know in IT are women...

    but after they get tired of the tedium in the technical ranks they go into project management or management, in general. Like another poster, when kids (male or female) come to me and ask about the glorious world of IT, I tell them it's quite fun if you're in it for the science, the challenge or customer support (holding back the laughter)... Then I share the reality side; I give them an ear full about the hours, the lack of a personal life, a life without work related emergencies that happen while you're on a date, at a movie or spending a little intimate time with your significant other. Yeah, the money is great, but what good is it when you don't have time to spend it or you wind up blowing it all on health related issues from the stress, lack of sleep, bad diet habits and sedentary lifestyle? Or living with the perspective that you can be rif'd at the drop of a hat, just because you're expendable.

    If I had it to do all over again, I would have never gotten into the IT business... but that was 30 years ago and I'm just 15 years from retirement and am too damn old to just start over... If I make it another 10, without the inevitable hostage situation, nervous breakdown or developing general contempt for all people and computers, then I will have had a fulfilling career.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    You need a sense of humour to be a woman in IT..

    And lets face it, a lot of women just take it all too seriously (just look at the indignant responses to some of the comments above).

    I'm a female dev, and in my experience anyone I'd want to work with and is of the same attitude as many here - it really doesn't matter what gender/race you fall into so long as you're good at the job.

    I think without exception, those hired for political reasons have been unable to perform their role properly and caused me the most difficulty when I'm trying to perform mine.

    For all the bad jokes and sexist (actually anythingist - but all in jest) comments I've found IT guys to be the most likely to hire/fire on merit, helpful, inclusive, with an integrity that other backstabbing depts (and managers) don't get anywhere near to.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle


    After reading all the comments I think the IT industry needs less jerks. Period. Thats it.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    No. We do not need more women in IT.

    What we need is fewer second-rate men, of all three types:

    1. dungeon-dwelling, hydrophobic Red Dwarf fans

    2. leering, patronising David Brent impersonators

    3. shouty, shoulder-padded 80's-throwback career-chicks

    This industry has been completely missing the point ever since Ada first caught Babbage staring at her norks, and just carries on attempting to make the mountain come to He Who Must Not Have Teddy Bears Named After Him.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    The real reasons

    "She also expressed concern that the current shortage of about 300,000 computer scientists and engineers in the EU's 27 member states could impact competitiveness against other parts of the world, including emerging markets such as Asia."

    I think its despicable that they try to play the gender card to not only get political brownie points ("look at me I do things for women") but also to attempt to get more people into a sector that plainly stinks to make sure supply is met by demand and IT can stay as stinky as it is today.

  39. dervheid

    Take out all the jerks...

    and chances are the IT industry would collapse!


    Besides, where else would all the jerks find a job.

  40. Mr Larrington


    YA Verity Stob AICMFP!

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Women dont want to work in IT because they are women

    I have worked in IT for a couple of decades and in that time I only worked with one competent female colleague, there were loads who came for the money but they all left the job when they went home. No sitting up until the earlier hours banging their head against the keyboard to get a solution for them.

    This is the reason that there are so few competent women in IT they are not really interested in the subject. A percentage of women go to work to meet a father for their children. What chance for IT staff when the american TV is putting us down as "geeks", with glasses and bad personal hygiene, these women are attracted to prestige, which is sadly lacking in this field. Add to this the widely held belief that IT staff are socially inept and so are not promoted as quickly as their none IT peers. The result of all of this is if you have got a woman in your department chances are she will be a non-technical manager or a clerk. What the IT industry need is technically competent staff not more people who have no interest in the work and are taken on as the companies token minority.

  42. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    There are always exceptions

    The last place I worked before going freelance managed to finagle 50% of its permanent development team as women. Of course the fact that the permanent development team consisted of two people (I was contracting) might have had something to do with it. And the fact that both of them had brains so big they wouldn't even fit inside my skull is probably why they were hired...

    I don't miss the place. They made me feel inadequate. :) But I think that should prove the point, in that both these people were the most suitable for the job and were hired because of that, not because of the shape of their genitalia.

  43. Richard Hodgson

    How will this work?

    I mean, I'm currently studying for a BA in Computer Systems at the moment, and out of over 200 people I see in my System Analysis and Design lectures, we have a grand total of maybe 5 girls. Throughout my entire education, and IT related courses and modules always had a low turnout of women.

    Now then, universities tend to accept people based on their mark, rather than their gender. If women aren't taking interest in IT at an educational level, then there aren't going to be many female IT graduates. If this is the case, then how are businesses meant to employ competent, qualified female IT staff?

    Whilst I don't agree with 'requirements' for staff levels when it comes to minorities, since suitability for a job should take the lead, with race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. having no bearing, I do wonder were they plan to find female IT staff if the number of even remotely qualified people are outweighed so heavily by men.

    Boffin icon picked, since some IT jobs may contain highly technical content requiring degree-level education or above :P

  44. Marvin the Martian

    Mandatory sexchange operation for all!

    That would fix the problem, easy-peasy.

    Well no, it would create "not enough women" complaints, but then pronto, all later recruits turn out to be (98% at least) male --- and year on year you can the publish a selfcongratulatory "the goal of a balanced workforce comes in sight" bulletin.

  45. Y.Schmidt

    Where to move:

    Try moving to Czech Republic. Currently there is a shortage of programmers and experienced people in Brno. Possibly also in Prague.

    Try sending an application there. Plenty of companies have offices there, LogicaCmg, Infosys, Siemens, Accenture, SAP to name the few that are a stone's throw away from the place I used to work before my transfer.

    You can look forward to living in a country that has far more pretty women than the UK, no Labour gov't, and some of the best lagers in the world.

    'Nuff said. Though dealing with bureaucracies while not speaking Czech might be a tad challenging. However, most young people speak at least some English, and maybe 1/2 of programmers are pretty good at it. The rest speaks some.

  46. Daniel B.
    Thumb Up


    We do need more IT women! I've known at least two girls that break the "dumb girl" stereotype: one of them is a developer, and the other one was able to fully use her HP-49g calculator ... *in RPN mode*. Oh, and they're both pretty, so no "ugly techie" jokes there ;)

    Its actually our culture & education that make them go for non-IT stuff, and the "geek factor" that makes them think IT's full of geeky types. If you raise a "Barbie Girl", she'll go for stupid careers. If you do take care about her in the early stages of learning, she might steer towards choosing something less fluffy in college.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    who makes up this news ?

    Girls are better than boys at using a computer, a survey found today.

    Despite technology and gadgets traditionally being seen as boys' territory, the study found that girls are out-performing boys with their IT skills.

    A higher percentage of girls aged over seven could carry out tasks such as finding what they needed on a search engine, creating and editing a Word document and downloading photos.

    So they start off more advanced than us then end up going into beauty salons and leave us guys to put up with all the stress?

    Nothing can be trusted anymore one view of news disagrees with another !

  48. Chris Robinson

    lots where I work...

    .Net developers, Oracle DBA's, testers, Telecom programmers, analysts, etc.

    Unfortunately, all married :(

  49. Hrishikesh
    Paris Hilton

    A le BOFH ...

    (hmm... some useful franglais in there ;)

    Am I truly the *only* one who thought of the BOFH? He's been there, done that:

    Paris: 'cos we <blink>don't</blink> need anyone like her in IT...

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: who makes up this news ?

    IT skills ? What skill is needed to click a link, to use a search engine, or to use Word ?

    There's your problem, IT is too broadly defined, mainly to suit the idiot. How many girls take the time to learn html by viewing the source of web pages ? How many girls spend hours trying to program in any language ?

    The IT skills you quoted are the modern equivalent of using a photocopier or typewriter. The real IT skills are the modern equivalent of designing and building such devices.

    Reminds of something my stepmother said years ago. She said "men are losing their identity these days because women don't need them any more". Sure, I said, all these modern labour saving devices like washing machines, microwaves, cars, computers, mobile phones, central heating, double glazing, etc etc, all invented by men, but now that you have them, you don't need us any more. Heh, well you can try to live with what you've got, and we'll carry on inventing the future.

    And at the risk of a flame war, feminism has a lot to answer for. Since women claimed more "equality" in politics and society in general, we've seen violent crime and obesity rise, achievement fall, and an explosion in touchy feeley counselling groups. Which when you think about it makes perfect sense. After all, it's the mother who says "oh he didn't mean to do it, don't be to hard on the poor little lamb", and prevents the spoilt little brat learning by his mistakes. Corporal punishment banned - rise in violent crime. Live today, pay tomorrow, rise in theft. Convenience foods - rise in obesity. When that school stopped serving chips at lunchtime, who was it passing Macdonalds through the fence ?

    Bullying. When I was a kid, bullying meant getting your head kicked in while waiting for the bus. Mothers attitude was tell the teacher. In other words, offload the problem to a disinterested party. The only real solution (as I figured out in the end) was to make a stand and fight back. It never happened again. All these bullied kids these days are growing up thinking that it's someone elses job to look after them. As for "cyber-bullying", hah ! Get a real life ! This is the way to breed an entire generation of weak defenseless proles. No wonder the government is promoting it. When a weak minded kid with no sense of self respect or self preservation, tries to assert themselves these days they either get a car with a loud exhaust, or a gun and hang out in the 'hood. Hey look at me and show me respect. If they learned some self respect in the first place they wouldn't need to publicly assert themselves. After all, you are nothing without the latest phone, or shoes or jacket. </sarcasm>

    Of course this almost exactly parallels the decline in 2 parent families. No father in the house - no discipline, no male role model, no respect. No wonder the kids are confused. Just who is the young man supposed to look up to ? A bloody footballer ? A "pop" star ?

    Instead it's left to the side of the population who are more concerned with appearance than substance, and we are reaping the rewards for that every day.

    Bah !

    * No I don't hate women, I like women. Neither do I categorise people based on their gender. But I don't like consumerism, short term thinking and lack of common sense, which seem to be more prevalent in a female dominated society. If a woman complains about a male activity, do all the men jump up shouting "you're just anti-men" ? But apparently if a man complains about anything a female has initiated it's gender biased and sexism. Maybe the problem's in the attitude. As for page 3, I don't believe anybody forced these women to get their tits out, and they seem to do quite well out of it. Christ, even prostitutes are described as sex workers these days. Someone needs to get their story straight.

    Unfortunately it's too late to go backwards. Even the men these days have been influenced by generations of feminisation. Metrosexuals abound, BWMs permeate, and a fair days work for a fair days pay is history. Thing is, bridges still need to be built, bins still need to be emptied, physical strength and inner confidence are a pre-requisite for many activities. But the supply of such individuals is declining fast.

    Nanny state indeed.

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